Nice little article on a Catholic book store that for once is not about selling St. Joseph statues to sell you home.
Sonoran Saints, 10825 N. Oracle Road, is a religious gift store specializing in Catholic goods. It carries everything from prayer cards and bibles to talking Jesus dolls and giant hand-carved crucifixes from Bethlehem.
As Greg Dowler put it, "It’s the store for the person who has everything. When a new car doesn’t bring you happiness, you need something that can bring you a different level of fulfillment."
So far, the store is making money. But Susan Dowler said the real fulfillment for her comes with all the special moments that have happened since she opened.
One of Susan’s favorite memories is the time an old woman, moving snail-like with a cane in each hand, came in and immediately noticed a 3-foot high statue of Mary perched on a tall table.
"Can I touch your Mary?" Dowler recalled the woman asking her.
The old woman carefully placed her canes against the table and reached up with both hands to embrace the statue. Dowler went about her business.
"When I turned back toward her, I thought she was stuck up there!" Dowler said. "I asked her if I could help her, but the woman shook her head no."
For several minutes a confused Dowler watched the woman stretched upward, grasping the statue.
"Then when she came down," Dowler said, "she looked at me and said, ‘Mary wouldn’t let go.’"
The woman went about the store, bought her things and left. But a few hours later, Dowler said the old woman’s husband called. He asked if his wife left her canes, and Dowler glanced at the table, where they were leaning.
"Well, did you help her to her car?" the man asked. "She can’t walk without her canes."
"It’s moments like that that make working here so special," Dowler said.
Greg Dowler recalled another time when a couple, redecorating their home, came to buy a large, $300 wood-carved crucifix. A priest was in the store, special ordering a book behind the counter, when the couple questioned him about getting the piece down from the wall.
Joking with the couple, he told them not to buy it. He was saving his pennies for the day he could afford it. Fairly intent on going home with the item, the couple laughed with the priest, but continued to make the purchase, Greg Dowler said.
"After they bought, they said, ‘Oh, but father, would you bless it for us?’ The priest did, and just as the couple turned to walk away, they stopped and handed it right back over to the priest."
He was shocked and almost didn’t accept it, Greg Dowler said.
"To me, that’s true generosity," he said. "That was truly amazing – that kindness."